A new report from the power company has found that electrical contact incidents involving “backyard loggers” have increased by 30% since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report found that people who were chopping trees, gardening and working in their yards over the past year had accidentally come into contact with overhead power lines.
As of March 2020, there have been over 100 incidents as many people spend more time at home.
BC Hydro safety experts fear the numbers will only tell part of the story.
Most electrical contact incidents go unreported. Contact with a power line or other electrical equipment can result in serious injury or death.
Power lines can carry 12,000 to 25,000 volts of electricity.
According to Hydro, the increase in incidents can be attributed to the fact that more than three-quarters of British Columbians do not know the essential safety rules for performing work in their yards near electrical equipment.
Almost a quarter of British Columbians have contacted or had a close call with power lines or electrical equipment at some point, only 23% know the tools used, including ladders, must be at least three meters from power lines.
BC Hydro is urging the public to make safety around power lines a priority, especially as the weather warms and British Columbians are spending more time outdoors in their backyards due to the pandemic. British Columbians should keep the following points in mind when working in their backyards:
- Follow safe distance rules which focus on a minimum three-meter clearance from people, equipment, and all parts of a tree. Anyone who cannot do their own pruning or who does not know how to do it safely is urged by BC Hydro to contact a licensed arborist to prune the trees.
- Call 1 800 BCHYDRO (1-800-224-9376) if part of a tree or hedge is within three meters of a power line.
- Click or Call Before You Dig: If you are planting, plan carefully and remember to always click or call BC1Call before digging to locate any underground or other electrical infrastructure. Apply online at bc1c.ca or call 604-257-1940 and 1-800-474-6886 outside of the Lower Mainland.